LOWELL, Mass.--M/A-COM Inc. here today unveiled a new gallium-arsenide (GaAs) process with an enhancement/depletion (E/D) mode that serves stringent linearity and single-supply voltage requirements in cellular phones, wireless network systems, and communications infrastructure equipment.
Cell phone transceivers produced with the new GaAs process will offer more than 50% lower current consumption for equivalent radio-frequency (RF) performance compared to new silicon-germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS products, according to the company.
The process has been transferred to a fabrication plant in Colorado Springs, Colo., and a recently acquired facility in Roanoke, Va., which was formally ITT GaAsTek. The new GaAs process supports the integration of high-frequency analog and high-speed digital circuits on the same chip, said M/A-COM, which now claims to be one of the few companies in the world producing gallium-arsenide E/D circuits.
The E/D mode process "allows M/A-COM to provide products with higher linearity and efficiency to today's wireless marketplace where battery life and talk time matter," said Larry Ward, general manager for the company's Integrated Semiconductor Business Unit. "It also positions us well to innovate the next generation of highly integrated solutions that the market will require."
Two field-effect transistor types are featured in the E/D process. One is an enhancement mode FET, which supports on-chip gain mode switching without a negative supply voltage. The other is a depletion mode FET, which is targeted at radio-frequency (RF) switching, mixing, and amplification, said the company.
The gallium-arsenide E/D process achieves Ft of 25 GHz and a Fmin of 0.3 dB with an associated gain of 16dB at 2 GHz, said M/A-COM.
The company also said it has begun volume production of the first two standard products in the process--the MD59-0021, which is a integrated low-noise amplifier/downconverter IC, and the MD59-0022, an integrated upconverter/driver. Both products are second-generation devices designed for digital PCS wireless phone applications and operate on a single 2.7-V supply.
"These two products represent the first of several standard converter offerings we will release in the PCS and cellular bands using the E/D process this year," said Suja Ramnath, product manager of the company's multi-function IC product line.